Residents express frustrations to Asheville City Council in wake of leaked police video
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) —
For more than two hours Tuesday evening, community members took to the podium to address Asheville City Council members about the man who was beaten, choked and tased by a former Asheville police officer.
It was the council's first regularly scheduled meeting since the release of the tape and since officer Chris Hickman was charged.
Council members heard from pastors, members of the NAACP, the local head of the Fraternal Order of Police and many more.
Mayor Esther Manheimer started the public comment portion of the meeting by saying it was a chance for council members to just listen.
Council members listened and many speakers called them out by saying they were not doing enough about racial issues in Asheville. They said there were systemic problems that go beyond just the incident with Johnnie Rush, whose charges of jaywalking were dismissed.
Some of the speakers called for city government officials, like city manager Gary Jackson and Police Chief Tammy Hooper to resign.
Other speakers called on city leaders to put into practice recommendations they had received in the past, like not targeting low-income drivers for issues like tail lights out or expired tags and getting written consent for searches.
"There's something wrong with the system that would create a police force to run down other human souls,” one speaker said.
Rondell Lance, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police lodge, asked the council members to support the men and women on the Asheville police force, who risk their lives every day to protect and serve.
"We condemn what happened in that video. That was terrible. We hate to watch it. It made us sick to watch it. But, I want you to know that is definitely not the people at APD,” Lance said.
Before public comment, members of the Racial Justice Coalition presented 10 recommendations to the council on ways to help avoid another Rush-type incident.
Those recommendations ranged from helping to create citizen review boards to better information on the complaint process with the police department.